When entire nation prayed for Amitabh Bachchan's recovery after 1982 Coolie on-set accident

Mar 06, 2023 01:50 PM IST

In 1982, Amitabh Bachchan had to be rushed to hospital in Bangalore after an on-set accident ruptured his spleen. The actor was shifted to a Mumbai hospital where he recovered after a few months. Fans across India prayed for his well-being.

With news of Amitabh Bachchan being injured on the sets of Project K over the weekend, fans were reminded of another time in the actor's life when he was injured on set for Coolie (1983). He wrote, “rib cartilage popped broke and a muscle tear on the right rib cage”. The veteran actor, who broke his rib cartilage and had a muscle tear on the right rib cage, has been advised to rest after receiving medical care. Back in 1982, Amitabh's condition had been grave as he was shifted from Bangalore to Mumbai where he eventually recovered. (Also read: Amitabh Bachchan meets with an accident during Project K shoot, writes: 'Rib cartilage popped broke, muscle tear...')

Coolie, directed by Manmohan Desai, was eventually released in theatres on December 3, 1983.
Coolie, directed by Manmohan Desai, was eventually released in theatres on December 3, 1983.

On Manmohan Desai's Coolie, the actor had been performing his own stunts and was acting opposite Puneet Issar in a fight sequence. He was supposed to fall on a table and later on the ground, but unfortunately that day, he struck the corner of the table during the 'fight' and ruptured his spleen. Amitabh was taken to St. Philomena’s Hospital in an unconscious state, where an emergency surgery was performed. However, there was a chance that his stomach would rupture again.

He was shifted to Mumbai's Breach Candy Hospital where he was almost in a coma condition and more surgeries were performed. Amitabh remained critically ill in hospital for several months as he recovered. Fans from across the country prayed for his well-being and eventually he returned on September 24, 1982, two months after the Coolie accident.

The actor calls August 2, 1982, his second birthday because that was the day when he was revived from a near-dead condition and put back on the path to recovery. Amitabh went back and completed Coolie, although this time, there were some changes made to the script. Director Manmohan had originally planned to kill off his character Iqbal in the end. The change to the ending signified the actor's own brush with death. The infamous fight sequence in Coolie has a special title card that signifies the exact moment Amitabh was injured.

The moment when Amitabh was injured.
The moment when Amitabh was injured.

Amitabh has previously said that he hates discussing what had happened. He told Stardust magazine in an interview, “It's like really pushing me into areas that I've put away. It's going to be difficult. See, I never knew that I was going to die. I knew that there was something very wrong with me but I never knew that I was going to die. And the entire period when I was seemingly gone, when I was struggling for life, I was in a state of coma. I was unconscious. That was a difficult period for my family. It was easy for me because I was oblivious. The difficult period for me started after I got okay. When you're told what you've been through. And it's not enough that you've been told."

He added, "The worst phase is when you discover that what they have told you is, in fact, true. Your entire body is finished from within. You're in full bloom, you're healthy and you're full of life and gusto. And to suddenly find that the body is not there. You can't move your fingers. Your legs can't support you. And your whole system has gone through a battering. But you know that it was there. It was just there the other day. How come it's not working? It was a very frightening time.”

The film was released in theatres on December 3, 1983 and became a super hit. Also starring Rishi Kapoor, Rati Agnihotri, Kader Khan, Waheeda Rehman and Suresh Oberoi, it was the highest grossing film of 1983.

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